Wait, a study claims drinking alcohol makes you less likely to throw cultural caution to the wind and spend stupidly? Does. Not. Compute.

Unless it's social psychology, but even then no one is believing it unless they are one of the people writing about how screwed up Republicans are, i.e., need some new framework for the confirmation bias of their audience. 

Chris Mooney, writing in Rolling Stone, is in a tough spot.  He historically has wanted to talk about actual science, which should make it hard for him not to smirk at a social psychology 'study' conducted outside a bar, but he hates Republicans far more than he loves science, in a way it is difficult to describe to a more moderate, mainstream audience; maybe I can compare it to how Sarah Palin hates coyotes or whatever she shoots out of a helicopter, or how Keith Olbermann hates...okay, Republicans again. Anyway, he hates them a lot. And if he is going to sell books, he has to put 'Republican' in his titles.

He hates Republicans so much so he refuses to ask any awkward questions of any crazy study, including one in which a group of social psychologists stand outside a bar and ask questions designed to gauge the political beliefs of patrons, after which they conduct a breathalyzer test. Then they map the left-right skew to how drunk people are. Total woo, right?  Without pseudoscience, there is no book on how Republicans have 'different brains' so we have to give him a break on embracing that stuff, because he isn't writing the book for a science audience, he is writing it for people who want to make fun of their political opposition. Yet he is no cynical opportunist. He believes the stuff he says, just like Ann Coulter does.
For it suggests, in line with a large body of research that I survey in my new book The Republican Brain, that political ideology isn't really what we tend to think it is. It's not just about ideas and philosophies; it’s also about psychological traits and cognitive style – about how people think as much as what they think.
If you read Science 2.0, you are chuckling at that 'body of research' claim - if this same level of research rigor were being issued about the left wing he would not be giving it a free pass but this is in Rolling Stone.  To them, it probably is research, because they assume anything with the term 'science' in it is actually science.  It's a tremendous disservice to the public to have that colloquial confusion and a large reason why the public increasingly distrusts science; liberal, welcoming scientists have not protected their brand and are letting economists and political scientists and social scientists and progressively ideological whatnots lay claim to having the same rigorous methodology.
(And this isn’t just another case of liberals being smug; this is serious research.)
Well, no, it isn't. Claiming conservatives are 'reactionary' while liberals are 'thoughtful' and 'nuanced' is only serious research if you are on the left, like almost all of social psychology.  But 'nuanced' is also a synonym for 'postmodernist' and 'moral relativist' yet those are not self-flattery so they never get used even though left wing people could trademark those concepts.

Let's not dwell on that rampant self-deceit and the posturing of intelligentsia. Spending 200 words debunking the study was not necessary, every one of you in the audience mentally did a better job in 15 seconds than I did writing it all out - and I am not really even criticizing Chris' article. It's actually quite fun to read, if you are not on the right. He notes that 
Many liberals will be tempted to cite the latest research to argue that they’re in some way superior, while conservatives may feel insulted by this new assault from academics
which is his wink, wink way of saying 'that is exactly what I intended to accomplish' but if you are only right wing on economic stuff and left on other things, like me, you can just enjoy his thought process and his gift for prose even where he is wrong and you won't be insulted at all - because the foundation of this 'research' is made-up nonsense designed to reaffirm a cultural belief.  I liked reading and dissecting Harold Camping's Biblical numerology doomsday prediction the same way.  Sometimes I also watch those 'documentaries' on the Shroud of Turin too and that's a good analogy; 'Republicans have a different brain' is basically the Shroud of Turin for the secular left.

I would note for him that the conservative public may feel under assault by 'academics' but the only ones who feel under assault by science academics have been confused by the intentional efforts of cultural pundits to try and conflate social goofiness with real science like biology or physics and whatnot.  In just asking general questions of people when I get an idea of their political slant (and so, just as legitimate a method as asking questions outside a bar, though not showing up in any 'journal') I find very few who distrust science.   They distrust the humanities - and social psychology belongs more there than it does in the same buildings as science which is why, if you visit more campuses, they are actually over with the humanities. They also distrust climate scientists, because there is a lot of politicking in that field, but I can't find anyone on the right who distrusts biologists or physicists even if I quote numbers about the political participation of those disciplines. 

At the end, he even finds a way to rationalize why liberals get drunk a lot more; they are so darn smart they just have to get away from their super smart brains on occasion. In other words, they drink because they need to be more like conservatives - dumber - and stop solving all of the world's problems. It can't be wrong, since Satoshi Kanazawa is the first author. If you don't recall, he is also the evolutionary psychologist who claimed we all evolved to find black women ugly - which had about as equal a level of scientific rigor and caused his employer to dictate that he can no longer publish anything until someone who knows that they are talking about reads it first.  He also contends atheists and liberals more intelligent so you can see why he gets cited in this case.

So, yes, in answer to my original question, it is apparently entirely possible that getting drunk makes you more conservative - if by that we mean you are able to stop overthinking topics and working them through a framework of social justice issues and just have an honest reaction to the world around you.

But I have never been a drinker, which is likely why I am in the middle.


Can Drinking Make You Conservative? (and Other Questions About the Political Brain) by Chris Mooney, March 26, 2012

Scott Eidelman, Christian S. Crandall, Jeffrey A. Goodman, John C. Blanchar, 'Low-Effort Thought Promotes Political Conservatism', Pers Soc Psychol Bull March 16, 2012 doi: 10.1177/0146167212439213

Kanazawa, Satoshi; Hellberg, Josephine E. E. U., 'Intelligence and substance use', Review of General Psychology, Vol 14(4), Dec 2010, 382-396. doi: 10.1037/a0021526